Gavin and Stacey receives almost 900 complaints for Christmas special's homophobic slur

10 January 2020, 10:56

The special episode brought in record-breaking figures but attracted a lot of complaints too.

The Gavin and Stacey Christmas special was the main talking point for everyone over the festive season, and went down a treat with the majority of viewers.

However, the show has received a flood of negative comments and nearly 900 complains over their choice to sing the word 'fa***t" when Nessa and Uncle Bryn sang karaoke to The Fairytale of New York.

The karaoke scene came under fire
The karaoke scene came under fire. Picture: BBC

The song, written and performed originally by the Pogues and features the lyrics "You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy f****t." sung by Kirsty MacColl.

This caused 866 complaints to be made to Ofcom, which has been confirmed by the BBC, after gay rights campaigners state the word was "pejorative: to the LGBT+ community and that it shouldn't have been used.

However, the BBC has defended the decision to use the word in the TV special, putting out a statement explaining why they allowed the word to be used on prime time TV.

The special episode has had nearly 900 complaints
The special episode has had nearly 900 complaints. Picture: BBC

They said: "The descent of their relationship is reflected in the increasingly abusive and offensive terms they use to address each other; insults which are intended to reflect the language that such characters might have used in that era.

"The origin of the word includes a definition which describes it as a contemptuous and antiquated word for laziness, and the author of the song has cited this inference behind his inclusion of that line.

"While the word ‘f****t’ is now widely acknowledged as having the potential to offend, the song never suggests or implies that this is, or was ever, an appropriate way to address another person, nor does it link it to homosexuality.

"Nessa and Bryn were seen singing the original lines and we can assure you there was no intention to offend viewers. We understand that some people will find it offensive in any context but we also recognise that the song is widely played and enjoyed in its original form."

Before the show aired, its creator and Nessa actress, Ruth Jones also defended the decision to leave it in the episode.

She revealed to The Sun: "It is a different climate. But we have to remain true to the characters, to who they were.

"Characters in Gavin & Stacey are kind and big-hearted, I believe. So I think no one is going to be intentionally hurtful.

"But by the same token, they’re not necessarily going to be completely politically correct or be aware of political correctness."